Plan Bukele in Peru? Latin America Looks to El Salvador's Anti-Crime Model

The Salvadoran president launched a poll on X (Twitter) about exporting his policies to the Andean country while a delegation from his government visits the country.

Nayib Bukele's measures against organized crime are primed to seduce neighbouring countries in Latin America. A delegation of Salvadoran authorities arrived in Lima, capital of Peru, on Monday, to participate in a security conference organized by the city mayor's office.

Prior to this, President Bukele published on X (formerly Twitter), a poll with a simple question. "'Plan Bukele' in Peru?." With nearly 90,000 votes, the response massively supported the "yes" vote. The appropriateness of Bukele's social media post sparked an internal debate in Peru about whether it would be pertinent to import the Salvadoran security model.

Among the participants in the survey, numerous social media users called for Bukele's measures, not only for Peru, but also for many other Latin American countries that suffer from high crime rates. Mexico, Colombia and Venezuela, were some of the countries that repeatedly appeared in the comments. Some even mentiioned the city of San Francisco.

Lima Mayor Rafael López Aliaga, who is also leader of the conservative Popular Renewal party, is one of those politicians who are seduced by El Salvador's model of security and the fight against gangs. According to the Peruvian media, La República, López Aliaga has praised the Salvadoran model on multiple occasions. Despite this, the mayor raised some objections to directly importing Bukele's measures.

"The 'Bukele plan' has worked a miracle in El Salvador. We are in contact with their security team and we want to implement something similar," López Aliaga said in statements collected by La República. However, he also maintains that "Peru has a completely different reality."

The international conference "Strategies to reduce crime in Peru" was attended by, among others, Gustavo Acevedo, mayor of Santa Ana, the second largest municipality in El Salvador and where New Ideas, Bukele's party, governs. The Salvadoran delegation is also scheduled to meet Tuesday with members of the National Congress for another conference entitled "Plan Bukele, successful experiences."

In Peru, there are also critics of Bukele's measures. The ombudsman, Josué Gutiérrez Cóndor, said that the policies against crime applied in El Salvador since the implementation of an emergency regime have "aspects that violate human rights." Gutierrez Condor went further to qualify his statements by stating that "we must be more careful and develop a more preventive policy on citizen security."

Crime in Peru

According to data from the National Institute of Statistics (INE), the crime rate in Peru in 2022, regressed to the pre-pandemic levels. The number of homicides in the country has grown year oon year over the last decade. Ten years ago the INE counted 2,013 homicides, a number that reached 2,855 in 2022. Since the implementation of the emergency regime in El Salvador, the Bukele government boasts of having reduced homicide rates to record levels for the country, and even the Central American region. According to the Ministry of Justice and Public Security, since the beginning of the so-called war against the maras, nearly 70,000 criminals have been arrested.